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Skin care essentials

Contrary to popular belief, a skin care routine is not time consuming.

Putting on makeup requires a few minutes and attention; skin care should take no longer than two or three minutes from beginning to end. Even with our busy lives we can spare just a couple of minutes to tend to our skin. Unlike applying makeup, skin care does not need to be complicated or meticulous. Plus there is no cosmetic out there, no matter how expensive, that will cover up and disguise neglected skin.

Note that a skin care routine does not and should not cost a fortune. Despite the fancy packaging and claims, expensive items are not necessarily better for your skin. By all means, if you find that such products to work for you, keep using them. But you do not need to spend a lot of money to keep your skin healthy. The main thing is to find products that will work for your skin and produce results: namely a face that is clean and healthy and as free from blemishes or wrinkles as possible.

Essentials of a good skin care routine

Cleanse: Daily cleansing of your skin is essential to remove oil, dirt, and makeup that can clog up your pores. If you wear makeup, night time cleansing is a must to ensure good skin health. Makeup itself is not the ‘bad guy’ but a lack of proper cleansing is. Whatever method you choose, your face should be clean enough that you never leave makeup behind on your towel when drying your face.

Tone: Some dermatologists insist on toning regardless of skin type. While other skin care experts dispute whether everyone needs a toner, toning can help remove excess oils from the skin’s surface. Unlike the strong ones aimed at teens, choose alcohol-free toners that will refresh the skin and remove the excess oils but not strip the skin of moisture.

Oil and water in the skin exist together and while you want to deal with the oils, avoid affecting the moisture balance of your skin. A toner should leave your skin feeling refreshed – never dry or tight. Apply after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Moisturize: Applying moisturizer is a tricky matter during menopause. Many products out there are designed for ‘mature’ women and you might find several types of moisturizers are too rich for your skin. But going back to the water, moisturizers are designed to retain as much water in the skin as possible (they do not ‘add’ moisture to the skin per se, but they do help lock moisture in) to keep it supple and fight wrinkles.

A good rule to keep in mind is a cream that you scoop out of a jar is heavier than a lotion that you pour out of a bottle.

Exfoliate: Sloughing away dead skins cells is an important step as we get older. In our younger years, the skin shed skin cells more regularly, preventing cells from accumulating on the skin’s surface. With age, this process slows down. As the skin cells remain on the surface for longer, they clog pores and may help cause breakouts. These same cells also give the skin a rather dull appearance.

To get back that healthy glow, use a gentle facial scrub at least once a week. Look for products that have small grains with a round shape. Scrubs having irregular shaped particles will feel gritty to the touch and usually end up almost scraping the skin than simply removing the dead cells.

Trying to find the right products is the hard part, and that is where the expenses can add up. But try these tips to help you find a good skin care routine without ending up with unwanted and unused jars and tubes.

*Look for sample sized items of products to try.

*Consult with a cosmetics professional or dermatologist and see if they may have samples for their customers. Sometimes, they may even prepare a small jar of product for you to take home.

*When shopping at your cosmetics counter, ask about possible refund policies. *You might be able to get your money back or at least a store credit. Always ask before purchasing to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

*Give the new product a chance to work. Often many people mistake a change in skin to indicate an allergy. If you do have an allergic reaction, you will know it immediately or within the next 24 to 48 hours. Signs of a reaction include redness, itching, or burning; often all three at once.

*After that, you may notice a slight breakout a few weeks down the line. By this point, it is not an allergic reaction so much as your skin becoming used to the new product. As the product works within the skin, it will push out oils and other matter to the skin’s surface and may result in a small breakout. Continue to use the product and monitor your skin. If the condition improves you have found a winner but if unpleasant conditions persist you will need to keep searching.

Incorporating a skin care routine into your day should become such a habit that you do it without thinking about it. Just a couple of minutes a day – preferably twice a day - to cleanse, tone and moisturize is a great way to look after your skin and yourself.

This article is intended for general skin care advice and does not address specific issues. Always consult with a health care professional if you suspect that you have an allergy or serious skin condition.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Tammy Elizabeth Southin. All rights reserved.
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